Note from editor: Gardening is one of my passions, and this post feels very Crunchy Family-y. It’s by a dad named Zac, who has a blog all about gardening(!). After reading this post, I want a vertical garden now (haha). ~Jane
In the present digital age we live in, it has become exceedingly difficult to get kids off their phones and get outside. To be honest, it’s hard for me to get off my phone and get outside!
Teaching your kids about gardening and fostering an interest in growing plants is a great way to engage the entire family in an outdoor activity that is enriching, educational and simply fun!
There is so much research that points to the benefits of being outside with our feet and hands in the dirt, from relieving stress to regulating our immune systems. Planting a garden together as a family is an easy way to reap the benefits of being outside.
Now don’t get me wrong. I know it can be overwhelming to start a new activity with your kids, especially if you’re not a seasoned gardener yourself. But don’t worry! There are a lot of ways to test the gardening waters. Here are few simple ways to introduce the joy of gardening to kids and make it a family activity everyone can learn from and appreciate.
Start small with herbs and veggies
Trying to get your kid excited about weeding your overgrown flower beds probably won’t be a successful endeavor. Kids always appreciate the ability to easily grasp the activity they’re participating in. So, inviting your child to plant seeds that will soon become tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots (the very foods they eat all the time!) along with flavorful herbs used in most of the meals they eat will provide a tangible task and goal for your child.
If your child has a favorite plant or flower that grows well in your region, ask them about it and suggest they trying growing that plant too! Kids love the ability to take ownership over a new activity and offer input.
A key word of advice is to start small, pretty please! It’s so easy to get ahead of ourselves when we are excited to try something new with our kids. If you’re anything like me though, when you plan too big, you often end up overwhelmed and unable to handle what you’ve gotten yourself into!
So starting small is the perfect, realistic way to get your kids interested in gardening without losing your sanity or hurting your bank account with all the upfront costs of creating a giant garden.
Try a vertical garden
Speaking of avoiding the costs and labor involved in creating a giant garden, if you’re new to the gardening world, a vertical garden of herbs, lettuces and small veggies might be a great option for you and your kiddos.
Vertical gardens can be created with fences, pallets or plant boxes. One of the easiest ways to craft a vertical garden is hanging shoes organizers and planting your herbs, veggies and plants directly in the shoe pockets! Vertical gardens are also a wonderful choice if you’re tight on outdoor space.
Like I said, kids love to feel like they have ownership over things. So you can make this their very own wall garden. Ask them for their input to help personalize the space. Also make sure to build your vertical garden in a bright space right outside your home so it’s easy to tend to. On busy days filled with lots of other activities, your kids will be less likely to forget to water their new plant friends.
Keep it simple and fun
There is no need to over-complicate something that is supposed to provide fresh air and fun for your family. So, if all of this sounds way too overwhelming, then I leave you with a simple action item.
Just plant something. Anything.
Purchase a few packets of seeds, small planting pots, and soil. Help your children plant the seeds and place the pots in a sunny spot in your home. Remind your child to tend to and water the plants daily. That’s all you need to do!
Even if your plants don’t survive the first time around, you will have at least tried something new with your kiddos. And who knows? You may have fostered a new or growing passion in your child. This could be just the beginning of your family gardening adventures.
Hi, I’m Zac. When my wife told me I needed a shed it started an obsession with the outdoors and outdoor projects. You can find more about how to do outdoor projects yourself for very little money at ZacsGarden.com.